The recipient of many war time honors, the Purple Heart included, Bob paid dearly for those honors. Serving in the First Marine Division, stationed in Vietnam in 1969, Bob saw his share of horrors that could not be imagined by civilians in society today. Once a very social and outgoing individual, Bob’s world began to slowly crumble and his ability to go out in public continued to erode until, in 2005, he was declared fully disabled due to his experience of Post Traumatic Stress. Unable to comfortably leave the house while his wife was at work, Bob began to isolate himself, only visiting with other veterans who came to visit him – only able to socialize with those who understood his experience because only they, he thought, could understand and accept him for who he really was – only they had his “six”. Bob no longer answered the phone directly, letting it always go to message first- his world had become only the walls of his home and it felt as if even those walls were beginning to cave in slowly and painfully.
“I really just want my life back – that’s all,” Bob shared.
Enter a beautiful, silky white Golden Retriever named Dillin. Loyal and sweet, quick to give a hug and steady for the duration of a long, easy walk or a belly rub, Dillin was willing to do anything and go anywhere his heart took him. Strong in mind but gentle in spirit, this beautiful boy had earned the nickname, “Chilin’ Dillin”! And, now on Bob’s door step, Dillin seemed to know immediately that he was home and now with his forever person. He took to Bob immediately.
“Block”, said Bob to Dillin. And Dillin blocked. “Watch”, said Bob to Dillin. And Dillin watched…and watched …until Bob, with tears in his eyes, told his loyal new battle buddy, “good job, boy” then returning to a heel and proceeding down the isle of a store that Bob had not been in alone for literally years. They both walked side by side and into that dream that Bob now believed would come true- the dream of independence and of a dignity restored.
Images and biography courtesy of Southeastern Guide Dogs